Finding Fatherhood

By Mark Antony Rossi

When I decided to pen a small collection of letters to my unborn son, I made the tough decision not to include every biographical detail of my life or extended family. There aren’t any dark secrets or embarrassing moments to hide but rather I wanted this short volume to contain my personal thoughts and views for my son to study and hopefully adopt. I also had my eye on attempting to inspire other fathers to write something down for their children that might help each other understand their past and better connect in the present. I’m trying to create a basic roadmap to a father’s aspirations and a child’s curiosity. Therefore, I answer a few questions I believe children have buzzing in their beating hearts:

“Why am I here?”

“Where do I come from?”

“What do you expect from me?”

I cannot come to terms with the irony (and I use that word so I don’t have to start an argument) of men in the professional workplace understanding how to motivate their subordinates by outlining the history of the company, the nature of the product and what they expect from their workers and yet failing to relay these foundation concepts to their own children. Let’s face facts, it’s no longer controversial or politically incorrect to openly declare that men as active fathers are a vital component of raising children—especially male children. Every statistical indicator from every slice of society demonstrates an active father’s presence in his child’s life dramatically reduces emotional turmoil, educational malaise and even criminal intent.

We, as a society, truly need to refocus our commitment to the full definition of fatherhood. Fatherhood is far too important a responsibility to be relegated to old-fashioned expectations of boring breadwinner or baseball throwing blowhard. A father’s contributions to the well being of the child should be noted and respected from the boardroom down to the laundry room. This newfound respect might transform society to allow a more flexible work schedule, more classes and books for new fathers, a fatherhood hotline, community awards for fatherhood, discounts for fathers patronizing businesses with their children, etc. I think fatherhood can be fashionable and fun if we stop spending so much time stereotyping fathers as weak, dopey or un-hip breeding partners.

Now, more than ever, Fatherhood desperately needs a public platform promoting its heightened priority to be recognized, taught, reinforced, respected and praised for its incredible impact on the world-at-large. It’s my firm conviction that absentee fatherism is a far more devastating crime to the family and society than prostitution or R-rated movies. I would suggest to family values organizations to seriously consider publicly protesting lousy fathers rather than loose women—real or imagined, but that might mess up their fundraising efforts. If I had my way, we would spend more enforcement dollars on pursuing deadbeat dads than highway hookers.

On this subject the sad fact remains in every corner of the community, left, right or in the center—Fatherhood is just not sexy. It doesn’t put the “bling” in political scare tactics or moral money-grubbing. Motion pictures ridicule it to death. Religion institutionalizes it to death. Politics emasculates it to death. Even women who complain bitterly about aloof husbands regularly engage in prejudice about female intuition and motherly instincts to the detriment of spouses who are conditioned to believe they lack the biological knowledge to be worthy parents because they are male.

All of this nonsense needs to stop. If we want great Fatherhood, we need to teach great Fatherhood, expect great Fatherhood and reward great Fatherhood. It’s my sincere hope this simple book will inspire new fathers to write down their thoughts, plans, dreams and aspirations for themselves and their children. You don’t need to be a writer to jot down the contents of your heart on a blank piece of paper. In the same garage used to fix the family car or build a workbench a father can put together a basic book using scrapbook materials and possibly a calligraphy pen. It takes no time to print out a digital photograph or paste a picture from a magazine onto pages you lovingly assemble to welcome your beautiful child. You may want to call it your book, your journal, your history, your gift or your plan for a new tomorrow. Whatever you call this special project will not matter when you finally see it is the first investment in paying attention to your child’s deepest longing: your continued love and presence.

About the Author: Mark Antony Rossi is a poet, playwright and author of the bioethics volume “Dark Tech” now available from Amazon. His most recent plays have been produced in Liverpool and New York. He also hosts a podcast called Strength to be Human.


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